This started out as just a quick post of these shots of this fine Belvedere wagon posted by canadiancatgreeen. I quickly opened the ’65 Belvedere brochure at oldcarbrochures.com, and was reminded that the wagon had a 117″ wheelbase whereas the other body styles had a 116″ wheelbase. Hmm. I wonder why. I shouldn’t have.
I always assumed that the 1965 and up B-Body Mopars (Belvedere and Coronet) had identical wheelbases as well as just about identical everything except some exterior skin. Not so.
The 1962 downsized Plymouths and Dodges all had 116″ wheelbases.
The 1963 and ’64 Dodges had a 119″ wb, with its rear axle clearly having been moved back. The wagons kept the same 116″ wb as the ’63-’64 Plymouth, as they shared the same body shell.
In 1965, the B-Bodies were re-positioned as intermediates, and dubbed Dodge Coronet and Plymouth Belvedere. And I always assumed they had the same wheelbase and were otherwise identical under the skin. Not so; the Coronet had a 117″ wb; the Belvedere 116″. But the wagons all had the 116″ wb, as it was still the same shell as before. Was the extra 1″ on the Dodge at the front or rear? Or did it not really exist except in the minds of the marketing folks?
But it all changed some for 1966, along with the slab-sided restyle. Now the wagons for both name plates were all on the same 117″ wb that the Coronet used throughout, while the rest of the Belvederes kept the 116″ wb. Ok.
And this continued on right through 1970, with the Dodges at 117″ and the Plymouths at 116″, except for the wagons.
My guess: they mounted the rear axle 0.51″ further to the rear on the leaf springs of the Dodges, because obviously they shared the same body shells. Or maybe it was this: the Plymouths had precisely 116.49″ of wheelbase, and the Dodges 116.51″ of wheelbase. That is, if the workers were being precise. On a Monday or Friday car, it could well be the opposite.
You got a better explanation?